The Netherlands has emerged as India's third-largest export destination after the U.S. and U.A.E. during the April-December period of FY2022-23. The surge in trade between India and the Netherlands has been attributed to the increase in shipments of petroleum products, electronic items, chemicals and aluminium goods.

The country's trade surplus with the Netherlands increased from $1.5 billion in 2017 to $12.3 billion in 2022-23 so far, the commerce ministry data shows. India's top 10 trade partners during the April-December 2022-23 period were the U.S., UAE, Netherlands, China, Bangladesh, Singapore, Brazil, the UK, Saudi Arabia and Indonesia, the commerce ministry data shows.

The Netherlands was the fifth-largest export destination for India in 2020-21. The European country replaced the U.K., Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Germany to emerge as the third major export hub of India this year. India's exports to the U.S. saw 8.54% growth during the April-December period at $53.1 billion as compared to $48.9 billion during the same period last year. To the U.A.E., India's exports surged 19.32% to $20.8 billion as compared to 17.4 billion during the same period last year.

India’s overall exports (merchandise and services combined) in April-December 2022 exhibited a positive growth of 16.11% over the same period last year (April-December 2021). In value terms, India’s overall exports were at $568.57 billion in April-December 2022, while imports were at $686.70 billion.

As India’s domestic demand remained steady amid the global slump, the overall imports in April-December 2022 exhibited 25.55% over the same period last year. However, in December 2022, the exports comprising merchandise and services stood at $61.82 billion in December 2022, declining 5.26% over the same period last year. The overall imports in December 2022 were at $73.80 billion, a negative growth of 1.95% over the same period last year.

The country's trade deficit, in the first three-quarters of FY23, has already touched a historic high of 6% of the GDP (deficit of $118 billion or ₹9.4 lakh crore @₹80 in the GDP of ₹157.6 lakh crore). For the full fiscal of FY23, the trade deficit is likely to reach far higher – putting tremendous pressure on forex reserves.

As per Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) president A Sakthivel, the coming months would be quite challenging unless both global economic growth and the geopolitical situation improve drastically. However, the decrease in imports is a good sign, he said, which will put less burden on the trade deficit front. "We hope that the energy prices will come down further to provide more relief," he added.

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